Connect with us

Current

Britain’s Victorian housing stock could see values plummet if government introduces EPC regulation

Voice Of EU

Published

on

The government is on a mission to retrofit the UK’s ageing housing stock – which accounts for roughly 20 per cent of the nation’s CO2 emissions.

Its current aim is to have as many homes as possible reach a C rating by 2035 in England and Wales, with an even earlier target being set for private rented homes.

This is a worry for homeowners living in Britain’s Victorian housing stock, which could lose some of its value if further energy efficiency regulations come into force. 

EPC is a rating scheme which bands properties between A and G, with an A rating being the most efficient and G the least efficient

EPC is a rating scheme which bands properties between A and G, with an A rating being the most efficient and G the least efficient

At present, about three in five homes have a D rating or worse, according to Rightmove. 

However, ONS data shows that those built before 1900 have an E rating on average, thanks to their poor insulation and lack of double glazing. 

Upgrading homes to meet the targets could cost up to £65billion, according to Government estimates – and homeowners are expected to foot the bill.

What is an EPC rating? 

EPC is a rating scheme which bands properties between A and G, with an A rating being the most efficient and G the least efficient.

The rating is based on the building’s energy features such as the building materials used, the heating systems and its insulation.

EPC ratings

Band A – 92 plus (most efficient)

Band B – 81 to 91

Band C – 69 to 80

Band D – 55 to 68

Band E – 39 to 54

Band F – 21 to 38

Band G – 1 to 20 (least efficient) 

The survey must be carried out by an accredited energy assessor and entered into a government-approved software to generate a score for the EPC, typically ranging from 0 to 100, simplified into bands A to G for domestic property.

The score remains valid for 10 years with homeowners needing to arrange a new one whenever a property is sold or rented – anyone failing to have one under these circumstances can be fined.

Ensuring adequate loft, underfloor or cavity wall insulation, upgrading to double or triple glazed windows, draught proofing and hot water tank insulation are just some examples of improvements that can boost an EPC rating.

There are currently no legal requirements for homeowners to have a minimum EPC rating, although landlords need to achieve a minimum EPC of E to let a property.

However, there are concerns that homeowners living in energy inefficient homes will come under increasing pressure to upgrade them.

Earlier this year the UK Government consulted on how mortgage lenders can help householders improve the energy performance of their homes.

This included proposals to introduce a target-based approach for improving the energy performance of lenders’ portfolios through a portfolio average target of EPC band C by 2030, for which the government is currently analysing the feedback.

Energy efficiency: About three in five homes in the UK have a D rating or worse, whilst those built before 1900 have an E rating on average, according to ONS data

Energy efficiency: About three in five homes in the UK have a D rating or worse, whilst those built before 1900 have an E rating on average, according to ONS data

This could see mortgage lenders become more reluctant to lend on properties with EPC ratings below C, because it would bring down their average. 

Timothy Douglas, policy manager at Propertymark said: ‘If this were to come into effect, it could cause distortion in the market.

‘If less efficient properties were harder to purchase for example, then their value would be affected as they would become less attractive or attainable.

‘Traditionally some older properties have actually held a premium over other property as they offer attractive settings and curb appeal but changes to borrowing could see more efficient properties start to hold a premium instead.’

What can homeowners do?

At present there appears to be a small price gap opening up between energy efficient and energy inefficient homes.  

There is a £9,840 difference between an average home with an EPC C and an EPC E rating, based on Savills data, although this increases to £47,605 when comparing EPC B to EPC F.

According to a recent Rics survey, although a third of property professionals had seen an increase in demand for energy-efficient homes over the past year, more than three quarters said a home’s EPC rating had little or no impact on its sale price.

There is a £9,840 difference between an average home with an EPC C and E rating, based on Savills data, although this increases to £47,605 when comparing EPC B to F.

There is a £9,840 difference between an average home with an EPC C and E rating, based on Savills data, although this increases to £47,605 when comparing EPC B to F.

More than half surveyed by Rics said the EPC rating had little impact, while 23 per cent believed that it had no impact whatsoever.

At the moment the government is yet to enforce any regulation or indeed a compulsory energy performance certificate rating of ‘C’ on UK properties.

But if they were to do so, the demand for Britain’s Victorian housing stock will almost certainly be impacted, forcing homeowners to either upgrade or see the value of their home fall.

The cost of upgrading a home from an E to a C rating is more than £17,000 on average, according to analysis by Savills.

But these calculations will vary depending on the specific needs of each property, with many likely to require a new heating system on top of other improvements such as wall and loft insulation.

The average cost of a heat pump system ranges between £11,000 and £18,000, whilst for homeowners off the gas grid, replacing oil with a low-carbon heating alternative could cost more than £30,000, according to Liquid Gas UK.

Many homeowners living in Victorian homes across the country will therefore be unable to afford the renovation costs without government support.

Depending on a homeowner’s circumstances, as well as the type of property, small pockets of funding are available.

This includes Local Authority Development Grants, Energy Company Obligation and Home Upgrade Grants.

Adding loft insulation is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to increase a property's EPC rating.

Adding loft insulation is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to increase a property’s EPC rating.

But for the vast majority, there is no support available, meaning people have no choice other than to do it themselves or wait for further government intervention.

‘The challenge of incentivising homeowners to retrofit their properties will be made more difficult if the costs involved prove to be too much, especially in areas with low property values,’ said Douglas.

‘This is because the cost of the retrofitting would not be regained in the capital value of the property after works are completed.

‘National and regional strategies need to be established in order to support homeowners with funding to tackle the vast retrofit challenge that lays ahead.’

One way the government’s could begin incentivising homeowners to start retrofitting their homes would be to cut VAT on green home upgrades.

This might encourage more people to install low carbon technologies and improve energy efficiency.

Developers can reclaim VAT on new builds, or when converting non-residential buildings such as barns, or homes that have not been lived in for 10 years.

But homeowners looking to retrofit their Victorian properties with all the latest energy saving improvements are not entitled to do so.

Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money, and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.

Source link

Current

Irish chief-of-staff meets Russian ambassador to discuss defence issues

Voice Of EU

Published

on

The Russian ambassador to Ireland Yury Filatov and the Chief of Defence Staff Lieut Gen Seán Clancy have met to discuss armed contacts between the two countries.

The meeting took place on Friday at the Russian embassy in Orwell Road, Dublin.

It was announced in a tweet from the embassy on Friday evening: “On January 21 the Ambassador of #Russia to #Ireland Y.Filatov met with the Member of the Chief of Defence Staff of Ireland S.Clancy.

“Parties discussed the issues of Russia-Ireland relations and international agenda, as well as prospects of contacts between (the) armed forces of (the) two countries.”

In response the Department of Defence said the meeting was a “routine courtesy call”.

A spokeswoman added: “As the recently appointed Chief of Staff, it is normal for foreign ambassadors to pay routine courtesy calls. This is one of a series of meetings. Such meetings are a matter for the chief of staff, not the minister. There is no ongoing military cooperation with Russia and there is no intention to do so.”

A spokesman for the Minister for Defence Simon Coveney has not responded yet to the tweet.

Live fire exercise

Independent TD Cathal Berry said he believed the meeting has to do with a proposed naval exercise that the Russian navy intends to undertake in February.

The live firing exercise will happen 240km off the Irish coast outside Irish territorial waters, but within the Irish exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

The Irish Aviation Authority has sent a notification to air traffic control in Ireland stating that the live firing exercises will take place between February 3rd and 8th and between 5am and 3pm on those days. The area in question is off the southwest coast.

The IAA states that “pursuant to International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)annexs 11,15 and for safety of air traffic in the area you are kindly requested to issue international notam (a notice to airmen) to temporarily close above area for flights from surface to 11,000 metres”.

Dr Berry, a former army ranger, said the live firing exercise, while being legal, is a “warning to Ireland that we are military weak”.

He believed it was designed as an international provocation as it is close to flight paths and underwater submarine cables.

The Irish talks took place while negotiations ended between Russia and the United States in Geneva without agreement.

There are fears that Russia will invade Ukraine after Moscow massed tens of thousands of troops at the border, while the west has ramped up supplies of weapons to Kyiv.

US secretary of state Antony Blinken and Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov met for about 90 minutes in Geneva at what the American diplomat said was a “critical moment”. Expectations had been low going in, and there was no breakthrough.

Mr Blinken told Mr Lavrov the US would give Russia written responses to Moscow’s proposals next week, and suggested the two would likely meet again shortly after that – offering some hope that any invasion would be delayed for at least a few more days.

Source link

Continue Reading

Current

British Land unveils London Exchange Square scheme (GB)

Voice Of EU

Published

on

British Land reveals the opening of its new 1.5-acre Exchange Square located at Broadgate in the City of London. Designed by architects DSDHA, the park quadruples the amount of green space at Broadgate and creates a new outdoor space for workers and the wider community to enjoy in the capital. Exchange Square is now open to the public and includes 420m² of lawned areas, an exciting mix of planting and trees within its gardens, an amphitheatre with plenty of seating, and new retail and event space.

 

It aims to blend nature with the energy of London and promote the physical and emotional wellbeing of people who live and work in the local area. As spring approaches, the park will become a haven for workers looking to enjoy high-quality outdoor spaces when working from the office, and for the local community to enjoy a range of plants and biodiversity. The park’s range of planting is maintained by Exchange Square’s Head Gardener and is expected to be a popular choice for workers looking to make the most of premium outdoor space.

 

Health and wellbeing form a vital part of the €1.8bn (£1.5bn) investment in Broadgate to create an environment that brings people together to work, shop, drink and dine. Research commissioned by British Land shows that putting good design at the heart of urban development could lead to substantial improvement in peoples’ mental health, which would result in substantial economic rewards.

 

David Lockyer, Head of Campuses, British Land said: “As we start the New Year, Exchange Square aims to create an accessible, sustainable and better-quality place for workers and residents in the community in 2022 and beyond. Broadgate has undergone a significant transformation as a mixed-use destination that appeals to everyone. We hope that by creating a new outdoor area filled with green space, it allows visitors to find a tranquil place within a busy capital.”

 

Matthew Webster, Head of Environmental, British Land, said: “Exchange Square is a brilliant addition to London’s green spaces, and has a unique position within the City of London. Creating opportunities for people to encounter nature as part of their daily lives boosts wellbeing and productivity. This new, green space has been designed to enhance both physical and mental health in a variety of ways – through providing an area for tranquillity, opportunities for social interaction or through encouraging and making it easy for people to visit and move through the space.”

 

Deborah Saunt, Founding Director of DSDHA, said: “With Exchange Square, we are delighted to see the culmination of our Public Realm Framework for Broadgate, which has already enhanced and better connected the open spaces of Broadgate Circle, Broadgate Plaza and Finsbury Avenue Square. Our ambition for this new park was to create a landscape that nurtures both plants and people through retrofitting nature into the heart of the City, breaking down perceived barriers to the surrounding areas, and offering a space that provides opportunities for both recuperation and recreation.”

Source link

Continue Reading

Current

Paint colour of 2022 is a deep purple called Very Peri

Voice Of EU

Published

on

Purple may not have graced our homes much since the psychedelic era of the 1970s, but all is set to change this year.

That is, at least, if we decide to follow Pantone’s recommendation. The world’s leading colour trend forecaster has controversially selected Very Peri, a shade inspired by the deep violet blue of the periwinkle flower, as the colour of 2022.

It may seem like an odd choice when we’re still embracing muted tones and understated interiors. 

But Pantone’s annual colour choices wield huge influence with fabric and paint manufacturers and also among interior designers keen to deliver the latest looks.

Love it or loathe it: Pantone¿s colour of the year Very Peri is inspired by the deep violet blue of the periwinkle flower

Love it or loathe it: Pantone’s colour of the year Very Peri is inspired by the deep violet blue of the periwinkle flower

Pantone says Very Peri embodies ‘carefree confidence and a daring curiosity’. Such assertions are another reason why some interior designers will not be recommending Very Peri. 

One remarked: ‘None of my clients would want purple in their homes, especially in the corner that they’ve set aside for their desk.’

Others are more positive, praising its effectiveness in almost any space.

Andrew Dunning, of London Contemporary, says that it represents a further move away from the Elephant’s Breath, the mid-grey Farrow & Ball paint that held sway in interiors in the early years of this century.

As a champion of the deft use of patterned wallpapers and brighter colours, Dunning considers Very Peri to be warm rather than chilly, particularly if furnishing fabric companies produce a lush velvet in the shade.

‘People have been scared of colour, but I think Very Peri could work well in a ‘wow’ piece like an accent armchair upholstered in the shade,’ he says. ‘It’s also an option for a cloakroom, a smaller place in the home in which you can be more audacious.’

Beth Travers, of Bobo1325, a Manchester design business, also argues that we should lower our resistance to the colour purple. 

Its historic links with royalty endow the colour with ‘luxury, power and nobility’. Since Very Peri is a blue tone of purple, Travers believes it can be ‘relaxing and soothing’.

Paula Taylor, of Graham & Brown, the paint company whose range includes the purple-blue Tanzanite, also thinks going bold could bring decor dividends.

Sitting pretty: Tresor Stool in Very Peri, to order at bykoket.com

Sitting pretty: Tresor Stool in Very Peri, to order at bykoket.com

‘Our Tanzanite used in a hallway would make visitors feel reassured and joyful. In a living room, it would be crisp but comforting, especially when teamed with one of our soft-whites, such as Baked Cheesecake, for a more timeless effect.’

The warm reception to Very Peri — in some quarters at least — could indicate that the shade will become an important part of the rise of blues and greens, a movement that began this year.

Simone Suss, of Studio Suss, a London design business, says this is connected to the wish to bring nature into our homes.

Such is the growing demand to introduce more elements of the great outdoors in the interior that more housebuilders will be prioritising ‘biophilic’ elements in their developments next year.

‘I am always inspired by the natural world,’ says Suss. ‘ I think biophilic design will be key in 2022.’ 

The other shades vying for supremacy in 2022 include Dulux’s selection Bright Skies, an airy blue that aims to inspire hope. Dulux recommends several palettes to accompany Bright Skies such as Greenhouse.

This array of blues and greens encompasses Fresh Foliage and Calming Meadow.

Breakfast Room Green, a cheery tone ideal for kitchens, and Stone Blue, a light indigo, are among the five shades that Farrow & Ball is tipping as the colours of 2022. 

The company is also backing the elegant School House White, along with Incarnadine, a dramatic crimson, and Babouche, a sunny yellow.

F&B senses people are ready to step outside their comfort zone which could augur well for Very Peri. 

But, in the short term, this shade seems less likely to suddenly explode than to be seen in small touches, such as Dark Flowers, a £23.95 poster print featuring sultry purple blooms from Desenio and purple cushions, such as the £25 cotton velvet cushion from Cotswold Company.

Loaf’s Joelle £2,345 19th-century style bed is available with a purple headboard for those who aspire to a more formal, almost regal setting after the pared-down aesthetic of the past two decades. But experimenting with Very Peri does not necessarily mean a break with the past.

It can look smart with any shade of beige or grey. Going with purple requires confidence. It will be interesting to see what’s in store for Very Peri over the next 12 months.

Savings of the week! Draught excluders 

William Morris print excluders from Lancashire company ReddandGoud come in different sizes

William Morris print excluders from Lancashire company ReddandGoud come in different sizes

The draught excluder, a long sausage-shaped pillow placed at the foot of a door, is a low-tech, planet-friendly means of staying cosy indoors.

This utilitarian item seems to inspire creativity among designers meaning that you can have warmth, plus aesthetic appeal. 

Low-cost options include the Kaia from The Range in charcoal, reduced from £11.99 to £10.99 and the Plush Bear in mustard at £5.59, down from £6.99. 

Not On The High Street’s cheery blue and red plaid version, pictured left, is reduced from £22 to £11.

The Snap Croc from Dora, a mid-price option, is down from £32 to £9.60. 

It resembles a crocodile whose aggression focuses on warding off chills. Wayfair’s Emmett excluder, with its prints of bees and ladybirds, reduced from £28.99 to £26.99 would lift any decor.

If you want to splash out, William Morris print excluders from Lancashire company ReddandGoud come in different sizes. The widest (99cm) is £40.80, from £48.

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates 
directly on your inbox.

You have Successfully Subscribed!